The US PC market has crashed, but a rebound is expected later this year


Posts: 9,130   +117
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In a nutshell: The US PC market hit a nadir in the first quarter of the year as shipments fell 28% to 14 million units. But it's not all bad news. Analyst company Canalys believes that the industry will start to recover later in 2023.

The US saw over 25 million PC shipments in the second quarter of 2021 as the stay-at-home orders pushed demand through the roof. That figure has been slowly declining since then, reaching a low point of 14 million in Q1 2023.

Breaking down that figure, desktop shipments were down 28% to 2.7 million, while notebooks experienced an even larger decline, down 31% to 11.4 million.

All top-five PC vendors experienced negative growth in Q1 2023. Second-place HP fared best with a 13.2% decline. Dell stayed on top despite a 26.2% fall in shipments.

The one area that performed slightly better – as in, its shipments didn't fall by as much – was tablets, which dropped just 7% to 10.8 million. As usual, it was Apple's iPad line that drove sales. The 5.4 million shipments of Apple's slates in the quarter represented a 20.5% year-on-year increase from the 4.4 million units shipped a year earlier.

Ishan Dutt, Principal Analyst at Canalys, cites a confluence of factors for the market bottoming out in the first quarter: the expected seasonal drop after the holidays, the channel finalizing inventory correction, companies trying to save money by extending the life-cycle of their PCs, and, most influential of all, the shaky economy.

But it's not all doom and gloom. Canalys expects that the market will finally recover in the near future. US PC Shipments are expected to grow 6% YoY in Q4 2023, while full-year shipments in 2024 are forecasted to be 13% higher than in 2023.

Dutt said that inflation dropping below 5% in early 2023 and signals that monetary policy will not tighten further were positive signs for the industry. He believes business and commercial demand for PCs will return in the second half of the year. There will also be a boost for Chromebooks during the back-to-school season. Furthermore, enterprises transitioning away from Windows 10 will encourage more companies to refresh their devices.

PC shipments in Q1 mirror the GPU market, which fell 43% year-on-year to 54.8 million units. However, a slight upturn is expected in the second half of the year and early 2024 for the graphics solutions industry, too.

Masthead: Oleksiy Mark

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Posts: 2,279   +1,249
Laptops with very budget AMD's powerful integrated graphics are about to become widely available. That means mobile gaming without the need to spend 200-600 for a dedicated GPU.
It is really amazing. You dont need an entry level dedicated GPU when you can have a laptop with this iGPU. Less heat and much cheaper.
I hope they do good advertising. This new igpu will allow a lot of people to enjoy games rather than somehow run them on current cheapest gaming laptops.


Posts: 69   +167
Other than seasonal demand, I think the analysts have it wrong. We’re only 3 years removed from the massive PC purchases that occurred during the pandemic, and the average user can make due with older tech for office / web browsing. Inflation is still outpacing wage growth, so discretionary upgrades will be delayed for consumers until that reverses or the need to upgrade becomes more significant.

Anecdotally, my employer is also planning to extend the time between hardware upgrades by at least one year as budgets tighten. I strongly suspect they aren’t alone.

Dr Roboto

Posts: 111   +217
Bad PC market = good time to buy. There have been some good deals on computer parts over the last month (excluding GPUs and PSUs). My old overclocked i5-4690K was showing its age even after a RAM and SSD upgrade. I have been wanting a complete rebuild for over a year. I finally pulled the trigger and was able to go AM5 with a 7700X and X670 with about $120 in savings. Not to mention 64GB DDR5 6000 CL30 for only $250 and Samsung 990 Pro 2GB only $160.


Posts: 9,186   +8,825
Other than seasonal demand, I think the analysts have it wrong. We’re only 3 years removed from the massive PC purchases that occurred during the pandemic, and the average user can make due with older tech for office / web browsing.
I have to agree. The analysts are talking heads and they could easily be replaced by LLM bots that just make stuff up.

What most people (the mass market, not enthusiasts, power users, etc.) have after their recent purchases is more than good enough for the next five and maybe even ten years, IMO.

Other than that, I think the main thing for the decline in sales is the outrageous prices all the chip manufacturers are expecting everyone to pay. Fortunately, the market is pushing back on that and it is driving prices down.

A limited set of the manufacturers are pushing back by cutting production, however, they still have to sell parts to make a profit; my guess is that their ill-advised, IMO, pushback will backfire on them and if they restart production at their currently ridiculous prices, the market will continue to ignore them, or people, like me, will start considering last-generation parts on the used market instead of paying prices that are not justified.


Posts: 354   +250
It seems the stats pushed by the media are driven by gamers and high end creative types that want/need the best performance available so their influence keeps driving the market. The rest of humanity only wants a glorified word processor, data storage, and internet access so pretty much any desktop or laptop will do even if it is years old. A heavily worked conventional hard drive may wear out but the other components rarely ever do, and if they do they could be replaced. If existing software will do the job for you, you don't need to upgrade your whole system to chase the latest resource-hungry product. Its a marketing merry-go-round to extract as much cash as possible from the easily led consumer.


Posts: 238   +279
Let's bring that chart out another decade or two, and I'm sure it will be obvious the last few years were a historical outlier.

There is a lot further down to go to return to normal and then likely even further as their current policies and pricing are driving away even historical buyers.

Human are still primarily social creatures. The vast majority of people would rather spend time in person with friends and family than sit behind a keyboard. And when it comes to consuming media, movies and shows also are generally speaking better experiences than games with larger groups especially. But even if you were going to play something it's probably off console and passing controllers around.

Gaming is still a hobby of mine and that's the primary thing, it's a hobby. I don't need newer hardware, I have a large library of older games and indie titles that don't require new hardware. I would like to at the right price upgrade and player newer titles, but you're not going to exploit me or pressure me to do that for inferior hardware that can't even play the newest titles at their peak graphics settings. Again I already have hardware and games I'm enjoying, you have to sell me on the upgrade. They don't think they have to, they think that I and others are desperate buyers in a seller's market---when they know full well they were selling to crypto miners who don't even exist now.

daffy duck

Posts: 145   +106
Global economy isn't improving in 3-6 months, maybe 12-18 months. Only massive discounting will see a rebound and then if prices go back to normal expect sluggish sales to continue. I doubt GPU market will recover as the offerings from Nvidia and AMD are overpriced and/or under-vrammed. People are now awake to Nvidia's crap. $500 for a 16GB 4050 Ti isn't going to work.